Moving from Blitz-torn London to the Siege of Malta, this is a story of passion, loss, prejudice and incredible courage. This is the novel Chris Cleave was born to write.
'Ian McEwan did this with Atonement, Sarah Waters did it with The Night Watch, and Chris Cleave does it too with Everyone Brave is Forgiven... A compelling and finely crafted novel.' FT
An extraordinary story of love and honour in extreme circumstances, from the multi-award-winning author of THE OTHER HAND.
Instant New York Times bestseller
Evening Standard top ten bestseller
iBooks BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016
Irish Times summer reading pick
'A cracker' Stylist, 10 Exciting Books in 2016
'His best book to date' Esquire, 10 best novels of 2016
Guardian Literary Highlight of 2016
Independent Best Book to read in 2016
Irish News Top Picks for 2016
Washington Post 20 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2016
When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.
Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss - until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.
Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she'd be a marvelous spy. When she is - bewilderingly - made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.
Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.
And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.
In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War - daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.
Powerful and moving . . . Cleave's real revisionism exists in the very fabric of his prose. - Independent
A compelling and finely crafted novel...The Second World War is dangerous territory for a contemporary novelist: the enemies they face include familiarity, cliche, and the reader's knowledge that any number of things happened then that were far stranger than fiction. For a writer to succeed in setting a tale in a period of heightened emotions, they need first to keep their own emotions under close control. Ian McEwan did this with Atonement, Sarah Waters did it with The Night Watch, and Chris Cleave does it too with Everyone Brave is Forgiven. - Financial Times
Loosely based on the author's grandparents' stories, this is a superb novel that breathes fresh life into an often brutal scenario. Particularly astute at demonstrating how war seeps into the psyche and changes it, this is beautifully written, funny, gut-wrenching and, above all, honest. - Daily Mail
An addictive, propulsive read . . . Cleave writes with an engaging intensity, a determination to tackle big moral issues, and a willingness to take risks. - The Sunday Times
This is the book for 2016 that I will give (and have) given to everyone. It's such a moving story and has such life in it. I felt shockingly connected to each character in this book, and was too invested to truly let go even once I ran out of pages.
Chris Cleave's debut novel INCENDIARY won the Somerset Maugham Award, among others. His second, the Costa-shortlisted THE OTHER HAND, was a global bestseller and sat in the New York Times Top Ten for over a year (under the US title, Little Bee). Both books were shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prizes. He lives in Kingston-upon-Thames with his wife and three children, and welcomes readers at facebook.com/ChrisCleaveBooks, www.chriscleave.com and twitter.com/chriscleave.